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Messages - joshroby

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AW:Dark Age / Re: Typos/spelling
« on: September 03, 2014, 02:21:17 PM »
But I love my sunblreached work tunic!

AW:Dark Age / Re: Crown of Towers Playtest
« on: September 03, 2014, 02:20:03 PM »
And from the playtesting notes page:

Rules Questions

How does one "create a War Company," as the playtest requests, outside of the Muster move?

Do a household's professional warriors add to a War Party?  How, exactly?  Do you need to make a new People for them?

A People of 20, 30, even 300, known for its cities?  Even if this wasn't plural, 300 souls doesn't populate a city.

When does a war company demobilize?

What distinguishes Denied Your Right from throwing a tantrum?

Clarifications, Possible Typos

Take Stock does NOT give you +1 forward when acting on answers (like Read a Sitch)?

The doc says "some characters' rights might include one [season move] as well."  Which characters?  Is the Castellan's muster workers right available as be a season move?

How do you get Shield Wall (listed on the War Company sheet)?

War Captain's beginning of session right says to mark 4 circles but there are only 3.

The Blacksmith has no mention of a forge or even smithing—if the playbook is a generalized artisan playbook, why isn't it just called Artisan?


Naming the Stronghold seems like a good candidate for a procedural step somewhere.

Visually, it's hard to distinguish character sheets.  Bigger playbook names would help.

Aspirations for Notables: power, wealth, ambition

AW:Dark Age / Re: Name lists!
« on: September 03, 2014, 02:06:23 PM »
Are names lists for Peoples in your plans?  That was a (very minor) stumbling block for us last night.

AW:Dark Age / Re: Crown of Towers Playtest
« on: September 03, 2014, 01:36:13 PM »
Then we did our opening Season Moves

I served as MC for these, and in addition to doing what was on the page for season moves, I asked for details from both the player taking the move and the rest of the table.  I was aiming to flesh things out and give us some traction to start with.  Later Judson declared I was asking provocative questions, but I'd rather the season moves had a little more meat on them in explicit fashion.

Tinitran went Traveling far away, and came upon some lands which had experienced a late freeze, creating a food shortage.  The households and clans of the area were denying each other hospitality, leading to some tensions.  Tinitran, being of noble blood and from far away, occasionally got hospitality when neighbors did not, which didn't make anybody happier.

Idus participated in our Rites and Celebration.  Since it was spring (based on Tinitran's late freeze), this was a celebration dedicated to our fertility goddess and god, incestuous twins.  They sacrificed our fattest cow, asked for (and got) a bountiful harvest.  There was also a "lesser" sacrifice to our goddess of death.  They sacrificed one of our enemies who had been living among us as a thrall for the last year.  They petitioned the goddess of death for protection of our children.

Agrezam went Soldiering.  He rolled an 8 and decided that he was discharged, owed money, and hurt.  He had answered the call to arms of our sister-city down the trade route, clearing out bandits that had been plaguing the merchants there.

Tatbirt was At the Hearth, where she gave birth to her first child.  There was no father in attendance, and neither are there any plausible candidates for who the father might have been.  Tatbirt herself is remaining quiet on the matter.

Did this give us enough to play?

Yes and no.

Yes; I and the others at my table, who are all relatively experienced GMs and experienced with PbtA games, can make this work.

However, while we've built up a ton of context most of it is rather broad and none of it is very immediate.  What we don't have is a spark to set things going.  Now, I can make said spark, but it's not going to come from the prep that we've done so far.  I'm going to have to decide that the Magdolna know of an old tunnel into the hill's catacombs, or that the bandits that Agerzam ran off are now being billeted by Clan Ixone, or that the thrall we sacrificed was from that freeze-stricken valley Tinitran visited, so when his family sends a hopeful messenger seeking our aid, they'll find worse news.  And obviously I can do all of that, but I feel like I'm flexing muscles that I trained up on games that gave me more support in this area.  I'm also unsure what kinds of conflicts are going to work well for Dark Ages.  Some guidance would be appreciated, even for an "experienced" GM like me.

AW:Dark Age / Re: Crown of Towers Playtest
« on: September 03, 2014, 01:15:20 PM »
Judson then made his War Company

Putting together the Abrika's 5 warriors at War 0 and the Forest Band's 16 warriors at War +2, he gets a total number of 21 warriors and a War +2.  They are equipped with hide coats, helmets, and spears from the stronghold's armory, giving them Harm +3 and Armor +2.  They have archers and cavalry.

AW:Dark Age / Re: Crown of Towers Playtest
« on: September 03, 2014, 01:13:21 PM »
Then we made Neighbors and Enemies

Tony made Clan Ixone, the first of our hostile clans.  They are defined by speaking the same language that no one around them speaks (Basque), and they are a clan, so 30 souls, 4 households, 8 warriors.  They are wiry and ruddy.  At Rites -1, War +2, and Wealth 0, they are known for their individual skill at arms, their cavalry, their loyalty, their fearlessness in the face of death, and their powerful foreign allies (uh-oh).

Josh made the Walhaz, our fractious free landowners.  They are defined as the all who live in the same place.  They are barrel-chested, short, and golden-creamy, and there are a lot of them: a vassalage numbering 300 souls, 40 households, and 40 warriors.  With Rites +2, War -1, and Wealth of 0, they are known for their veneration of priests and priestesses, their elaborate cosmology, and their celebrations; they maintain a cavalry, and they have rich lands.  They speak Welsh.

Adam made the Magdolna, the remnants of the old crown.  They are defined as the descendants of the same ancient queen, Magda the Bold.  They are hulking, barrel-chested, and hirsute (Adam's addition to the list).  Their numbers are 30 souls, 4 households, and 8 warriors.  They've got Rites +1, War +1, and Wealth 0, and are known for their fearlessness in battle, their vigilance against sorcery, their individual skill at arms, their ruthlessness, and their garish fashions.  They speak Hungarian.  Adam also made two Notables of the Magdolna.  Lajos the Bear has a 3 in single combat, aspires to honor, and his conscience allows him brutality, compliance, and vainglory.  Virág has a 2 in single combat, and aspires to loyalty and virtue; his conscience allows him brutality, lying, and murder.  So he's a nice guy we're happy to have on the other side.

Realizing that we have weapons and arms for 20 but only have 5 warriors among the Abrika, Judson made the Forest Band, which serves as the core of Agerzam's war company.  They are defined by sharing the same experience—fighting for Agerzam—and were displaced here by the Empire.  They have no unifed look, as their forebearers are all foreigners.  They are a warrior order, with 16 souls in 16 households and 16 warriors.  With Rites 0, War +2, and Wealth -1, they are known for their fearlessness in the face of death, their cavalry, their loyalty, their mercy to their defeated enemies, and their spicy cuisine.  Judson sketched out his lieutenant, Hetu, who has a 2 in single combat; she aspires to courage and virtue while her conscience allows her brutality, blasphemy, and robbery.  She's a keeper!

Judson also made a Notable for the Abrika, Irat, the Liege Lord.  He's a 2 in single combat; he aspires to hospitality and piety, and his conscience allows him brutality, compliance, and vainglory.  Ah, good old Daddy.

AW:Dark Age / Crown of Towers Playtest
« on: September 03, 2014, 12:59:52 PM »

Players: Josh Roby, Judson Lester, Tony Delgado, Adam West

We started off with our Stronghold.  Both the harbor and the trade route + market town sounded promising to most of us, so we picked that the latter.  We each picked an enemy, ending up with Fractious and rebellious free landowners, hostile clans, and the remnants of the former crown's rule (we also ticked Raiders by Sea, but then realized that we hadn't picked the harbor, so we un-ticked the Raiders).  We chatted about the fortifications and we each picked one: Deep cellars, crypts, and bolt-holds; a hilltop position; watch- and signal towers; and a well or deep cistern; so basically we're the center of a network of towers, built on top of a hollow hill.  Later we considered if our People had built the place or somebody else, and resolved that everyone had built on and in this hill, generation after generation, and we're merely the most recent occupants.  We each picked a dot for our armory and got Spears, Hide coats and leather helmets, Bows and arrows, and upgraded the lot to "For 20."  (We're assuming the For 10 / For 20 / For 60 applies to everything else you bought.)

Our People, the Abrika, was fun to make.  We decided on a single family displaced here by the Empire—brought here to be governors, now half-stranded and half-dutybound to stay.  We suspect the father of the present liege was the last governor to actually report to the Empire; the present generation is holding on by momentum.  We are tall and olive brown—short note, I wanted some more options here beyond build and skin tone; hair color, facial features, big hands, long fingers, and such.  We are an enclave, and so number 20 souls, in 4 households, with 5 warriors.

We picked +1 Rites, 0 War, and +1 Wealth.  This was a little weird but driven by the prep so far.  As governors of a trade hub, we figured we should have some Wealth, and as a distant enclave that had retained its sense of identity as outsiders, we figured we should have some Rites.  Since only one option allows you a positive value in two slots, that's the one we went with.  Consequently, we have a 0 in War, which nobody really wanted but we settled on due to mechanical constraints.  We are known for the Might of Our Gods, Our Sorcery and Enchantments, Our Archers (going back to our Stronghold), Our Subtle Fashions, and Our Generous Hospitality.  Our language is Berber.

Then we made PCs!

Judson made Agerzam the War Captain, of the Abrika.  A man, he is typical of his people, and is "Tall, sharp eyes, straight nose, heavy brows, cheerful."  He's got Bold +2, Good 0, Strong +1, Wary +1, Weird -1, and took as his Rights the beginning-of-session right, a trained warhorse, supplications to the gods of war, and can wage war as you see fit.  He also got a ton of stuff which I am not transcribing here. When fully kitted out, he rolls in at Harm 4 and Armor 3.  He is the head of his household, which has Devotion, Professional Warriors, Hunting Lands, a Great Hall, and an Ancestral Shame.

Tony made Tinitran the Outranger, also of the Abrika.  A woman, she is typical of her people.  She's got Bold 0, Good +1, Strong -1, Wary +2, and Weird +1.  She had Bold +1 and Good 0 until we realized that nobody had positive Good, so Tony volunteered to be somewhat likable and persuasive.  Her rights are to find her way by road or trail, to keep acquaintance with the people she's met, she is of noble blood but a lesser descendant, and she can step out of her earthly life.  Tony voluntarily downgraded Tinitran's customary gear to a staff and little else; she rolls out at Harm 3 and Armor 0.  She has a place of honor in the household of her father, the liege, and that household has Fortifications, a Great Hall, Fine Furnishings, a Kitchen, Pantry, and Buttery, a Treasury, a Sacred Shrine, and Burdensome Duties (protecting the trade route and town).

Adam made Idus the War-Champion, of the Abrika.  A man, he is "a tall, imposing warrior.  He dresses in fine, elaborate clothing in contrast to most Abrika.  His brashness and lack of courtesy make him ostracized, despite his glory."  He has Bold +1, Good -1, Strong +2, Wary +1, and Weird 0.  He is known by reputation, can confront his betters for justice, owns an enchanted weapon (the holy ash boar spear), and does +1 harm in single combat.  Idus' gear puts him at Harm +4 and Armor +3.  He is the head of his own household, composed of the orphans and widows of the area; they have a kitchen, pantry, and buttery, many generations, professional warriors, a river, farmland, and too many dependents.

Josh made Tatbirt the Castellan, also of the Abrika.  A woman, she is "tall and broad, bronzed in the sun and built by long hours of honest labor."  She's got Bold 0, Good -1, Strong +1, Wary +2, and Weird +1.  She can commit or withhold the stronghold's resources, she can feel the pulse of the stronghold's walls and stones, she can muster laborers, and she can offer sacrifices for luck, harvest, or victory.  While her arms and armor are more often than not on the rack, when she dresses to defend the stronghold, she has Harm 4 and Armor 3.  She has an honored place in the household of her father the local liege, and therefore the details are the same as Tinitran's.

AW:Dark Age / The Most Important Question
« on: September 03, 2014, 10:41:42 AM »

What's your drinking cup like?

Mine is simple and bronze, like Tatbirt herself.  Daughter of the local liege, she serves as his Castellan and speaks to the castle itself.  She works hard, not that anybody notices, not that she particularly cares.  Somebody's got to build a wall around the stronghold before one of the clans comes a'knocking.  And Tatbirt's going to make sure that happens.

AW:Dark Age / Re: Gender roles in AW:DA
« on: September 02, 2014, 03:46:23 PM »
Thread Necromancy, but the following seems incredibly pertinent to this question:

"Researchers at the University of Western Australia decided to revamp the way they studied Viking remains. Previously, researchers had misidentified skeletons as male simply because they were buried with their swords and shields. (Female remains were identified by their oval brooches, and not much else.) By studying osteological signs of gender within the bones themselves, researchers discovered that approximately half of the remains were actually female warriors, given a proper burial with their weapons."

More here:

AW:Dark Age / Re: Fronts?
« on: September 02, 2014, 12:08:27 PM »
Awesome, thanks!

AW:Dark Age / Fronts?
« on: September 01, 2014, 09:04:19 PM »
So I see no mention of Fronts on the MC sheet.  Does Dark Ages run without Fronts, just on MC Principles and MC Moves?  Or should I port in Fronts from AW?

Murderous Ghosts / Re: LA Gamers: 3s
« on: October 07, 2011, 11:03:11 AM »
Judson forgot my favorite suggestion: we had a lot of times when a player says, "Turn to 14!" and then we all have to double-check if they turn to 14 or if the other player turns to 14.  This would be totally obliviated if the Ghost book was lettered A B C D E instead of 1 2 3 4.

I'd also be a fan of calling them the Ghost book and the Haunted book, not GM and Player.  Especially if you're aiming for non-gamers.  But that's nearly cosmetic. ;)

But mostly, we hit those loops and the thing that stood out most to me was that while we were going around and around and around, no new information was being added to the story.  I had just watched Pitch Black earlier that day, and most of the movie is going around and around the same sorts of loops (what's in here? / oh no, monsters! / run away!), but each of those loops yielded more information, and the characters needed that information to finally escape and the audience needed that information to understand what was going on.  I don't think the loops are really that much of a problem—there are only so many paths on a graph with 24 nodes—as long as following the loops does something useful to the story like develop the ghost's backstory.

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